2017 Team

2017 Team
2017 Team on Final Day

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Houses Are Taking Shape

We had a bit of a slow start to the morning. It seems like that happens a lot. We feel really organized, but then the wood doesn’t get loaded fast enough, or the military truck is later than expected, or the plans get changed a little. It’s hard to comprehend without being here.

Even with that slow start, a lot was accomplished at the work site. Two houses are framed up, and the other will be finished shortly after lunch. One house has one full wall sided. The plan is to start painting the first house tomorrow. I’d say that is pretty fast!

While that was happening at the work site, 5 girls, Linda, and Nancy started making the gift bags for the families of the kindergarten children. Poor Juan – we had him running in all different directions. First he attended “formacion,” where all 1,000 students are together in the concrete bleachers to start the day. He explained the vertical garden project and its importance, while Joe and Tom demonstrated the garden. Then he went to the classrooms to see which students lived near each other. Next he let Linda know which ones were grouped together so the bags could be delivered in an orderly and efficient manner.

Julio stayed at the work site so he could drive some of the students back to the compound for a bathroom break halfway through the morning. He took those students back to the worksite and then returned to the compound to take the gift bag deliverers and the children on their deliveries. Parents, at all times our missioners are accompanied by Julio, Honduran soldiers, and at least one or our chaperones when they are outside the compound area. NO ONE ever travels alone. The house sites are all together, so most of the missioners rode in the military transport truck to get to the worksite. It is not far to the site, perhaps 5-6 blocks, but it is not an easy trip. So you can understand a little, picture this in your minds – driving uphill through a harvested cornfield, with a few little trenches dug in from pouring rain, and through in a few good sized rocks that would take out the bottom of you pickup if you tried to drive over them. That’s a pretty fair description of their ride up and back is the same but downhill. Of course, the gift bag deliverers face that same drive, but they have to travel further to several houses. But, if Juan did a good job of grouping them, all those houses should be within a few blocks of each other.

The missioners are hard at work as I am typing this. Most of them are at the work site. Except for the roof, they hope to finish one full house today and make a good start on the second. The final house will be framed and possibly have a wall or two. A small group is in the library putting together the last of the family gift bags. They’ll also put together approximately 15 smaller gift bags for all our Honduran helpers. All those donated items are benefitting more than 100 families! The items are also benefitting multiple schools and clinics.

By the way, we had fried chicken, mashed potatoes, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and multiple types of fruit for lunch. Breakfast was pancakes, fruit, and Honduran oatmeal. I was happy to see that many missioners were willing to try the “osmil.” It tastes like oatmeal, but I could not feel a single oat in mine. I think we all agreed that we prefer our oatmeal.

Mya, Addison, and all of Mrs. Lehmann’s first graders, we LOVED getting your message. We hope more classes will send us comments on the blog. They are lots of fun to read to everyone. Mya, I hope you are reading lots of books and taking those AR tests. I want you to love reading as much as I do. That goes for all you first graders!

When the missioners return late this afternoon, I’m going to have some of them writing their own messages to you so I can add them to the blog later. Since all the cameras are with the missioners at their work spots, I’ll add the photos later in the day. Check back tonight to see the photos and missioners’ messages.

Computer/internet problems again tonight. Sorry for the delay.

loading wood to go to house site

Krista has a new friend

Riding in the military transport truck

Carrying materials to the site

Getting started

Framing the house

The rock has to go so a door can be placed there

Brady;s buddies

Caden plays with the children

The team puts up the first wall

Working on the middle house

Juan explains the vertical garden project that Joe & Tom put together

Jordan packs a family's gift bag

Gift bag deliveries to the houses

The team breaks for lunch

A young boy receives the first "Shoe That Grows"

The girls make sure his special shoes fit properly

Missioners' blogs:

Addison Hirschman
Hello all, I first want to start off by saying when Cindy said this would be the best decision as parents they could have made, it was so true, and I’ve only been here 2 days. The relationships I have made already will be with me forever. Yesterday was so much fun building the vertical gardens; it was so awesome seeing all of us working together so well. Today, I helped build the houses and put together bags. I have used a hammer and a.., ah what is it called…, OH a DRILL more today and yesterday than ever before, and that’s enough time to know that being an employee and H&H someday is not in my future, but it is so much fun! These kids are so beautiful; their hearts glow, despite having nothing. I am not and will never be ready to leave them. I have so many stories to share and I cannot wait! The food is actually sooooo good. Mom, you have some MAJOR competitionJ. The most surprising thing to me is the amount of trash present. It just covers the lands, and it’s very unfortunate because this place could be so beautiful. There are no garbage cans so they just throw it on the ground. I wish you could all be here to see this firsthand - the kids, the school, the homes, and so much more. I have already been given more than I could ever imagine. I love and miss you all so much, but I will see you very soon! I am so so so excited for the days ahead; it keeps me up at night. Adios amigos!!

Krista Lipp
Hello everyone! This place is so different and special in its own way. The amount of pure happiness that is in this school is incredible. I have received more hugs in the last two days than I have ever received before. The kids are so loving and caring. They offer the food, jewelry, and money that they have. I’ve enjoyed the projects I have worked on so far! I’ve already learned how to run a drill and a saw (there are pictures to prove it), and I can’t wait to see what else I will learn! The food here is delicious so no need to worry, Mom. Haven’t even needed to resort to a peanut butter sandwich yet! Missing you all! Los amo a todos!

Erin Hoffman
I am in Honduras! This has been the most rewarding experience I have ever had, and it’s only day 3.  In the past three days, I’ve assisted with the building of the vertical gardens for the school and the three houses for some deserving families of Nueva Capital, Honduras. I am just as klutzy in Honduras as I am in the USA; on day two I smashed my hand into a pallet and bruised up some fingers and ended up with a nice, crispy, sunburn on my neck.  Most of my time here has been spent behind the camera capturing photos of our amazing missioners and all of our hard work. Right now I am wishing I would have taken Spanish instead of four years of French.  Every time I attempt to say something in Spanish it ends up coming out in French.  I know I have said “tres bien” instead of “muy bien” at least 10 times.  I am trying my best to learn some key phrases so I can talk with the students in the school yard.  I have gotten used to the long days, the cold showers, and I have even been eating rice. Over the last couple of days I have been able to witness the compassionate hearts of the people of Honduras. I am looking forward to the days to come and to coming home and telling you all about it. I hope you all have a great day and make good choices. Love you.

Brady Livermore
Hey family, I am doing well. I am really enjoying the food here and having a blast hanging out with the kids. I found a little girl named “Nici” who taught me how to dance. I love and miss you guys.

Jordan and Mark Von Arb
Happy belated birthday, Derek! We couldn’t tell you yesterday, but we thought of you nonetheless. Hopefully you are spending time with mom so she has somebody else to talk to besides the dog and doesn’t get too bored checking up on the blog every 5 minutes. Mom, keep on the commenting. We love it!! ;) Anyway, we are busy at work most of the time and doing well. (Jordan has gotten up every single day) Miss and love you, Fam!

James Kellen
Hi everyone. Honduras is great. I love it here. The food is good, the kids are so nice, and I like working on the houses. Don’t worry about me. I am having a blast. I am learning more and more Spanish, trying to make conversation with the kids. They are so energetic and are always excited to see me. Love you all!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Work Begins in Earnest

I think Juan is enjoying his job of being the “Time Leader” way too much. This morning began with his “wake-up” music through a megaphone. I can’t believe he packed a megaphone, but I do believe he’s doing a great job. We are also called to meals with music – most of the time with the music played to start a horse race. When Juan has a job to do, he makes sure that he does it well! Thus, Susan, Jordan got to enjoy reveille to wake up this morning. Maybe Juan will turn him into a morning person.

We let everyone sleep in until 6:30 a.m. Breakfast of scrambled eggs, ham, and beans was served at 6:45. Since the house wood had not yet been delivered by the time we finished eating breakfast, everyone went to work on our other projects. Bunk beds and picnic tables began to form in short order. Several missioners emptied the donated materials from the black duffles. And, Joe and Tom undertook our new project alongside the agricultural military representatives – vertical gardens. It was fun to watch them brainstorm ideas and then actually put all of them to use.

In between all of that, students played with the children, tried conversing in Spanish, were reminded to stay hydrated, and noticed all the things around them. The delivery truck showed up with the wood for our three houses. That wood had to be stacked to avoid any warping. (Bruce, if  you’re reading the blog, we want you to know that this is the wettest wood we have ever received.) We think they brushed on the green treatment stuff right before loading it into the truck!

I hope the photos I’m including today will give you an idea of all the projects that took place solely on the school grounds. At 5:30 we all came together for Mass, our first of this mission trip. It was impromptu and come-as-you-are, which Fr. Matt said is basically how we are doing everything here.

I’ve heard several comments of how delicious the food is. Lunch was tortillas with beef and rice. Supper was Linda’s favorite – enchiladas. We’ve been having watermelon, pineapple, cantaloupe, and bananas throughout our meals. Someone told me that Lucas is eating meals, but I think he is also eating plenty of peanut butter.

We had our junta outdoors tonight. It was a little cool, and the lights kept turning off. From what I’m hearing, I think our mission trip is off to a good start.

Tomorrow we are getting up thirty minutes earlier so we can begin making the families’ gift bags and framing up the houses. We’ll make sure everyone stays hydrated as we work in the sun tomorrow. Hope you’re enjoying the blog. We are definitely enjoying your comments, which are read at the end of junta each night. Thanks, all!

Sorting materials

Working on the vertical garden

Setting plants and drip irrigation in place

Stacked up bunk bed parts

Close look at the vertical garden

Carrying pallets into place

Getting everything even and solid before planting

Putting in the plastic bottles

Taking a break in the shade

Pat teaches the girls how to set up the bunk beds

Working on beds

Building picnic tables

Garden work

Honduran children also like to help

Empty concrete pads, awaiting our houses

Carlyn and Matyas practice for Mass. Erin enjoys the music.

Bunk bed work crews

Visiting a classroom

Unloading wood for houses

Unloading house wood

Daniel checks out the garden site

You can never have too many helpers

Making sure the wood is cut to the correct size

Using pallets and empty pop bottles to make a garden

Using a past picnic table to cut wood for a new one

Sorting donated materials

Joe gives directions for cutting the bottles

After pallets are rebuilt to hold bottles for the garden

The agricultural military agree on the garden spot

The guys await their next instructions